Country Music Names: They ain’t what they used to be!

Country Music Names: They ain’t what they used to be!

In her never-ending search for interesting names, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel tuned into the Country Music Awards  and reports here on what she uncovered.

If you ask me, I’ll insist I don’t like country music.

Except that you’ll find Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris on my iPod. 

Clearly, I’m in denial.  When the Academy of Country Music presented their awards earlier this month, I tuned in.  Sure enough, there was an entire category of names I’d overlooked.

There are some great choices in Nashville’s past: legends like Loretta, Dolly, Merle, and Hank.  But the current crop of recording artists wears names that are just a little bit country.  They’re equally stylish in suburban New Jersey or rural Tennessee.


Bentley His rise has been attributed to MTV’s Teen Mom and the pricey ride, but country star Dierks Bentley gives it a different spin.

Blake – As in singer Blake Shelton.  I’m fascinated by his middle: Tollison.

Coy – You might remember the name from the Dukes of Hazzard, but today he’s worn by a member of the successful Zac Brown Band.

Darius – The former frontman of Hootie & the Blowfish has transitioned to a successful country music career.

Easton – The newcomer’s surname, Corbin, might work, too.

Jackson There’s the Johnny Cash song, and also hitmaker Alan Jackson.

Kiefer – Husband and wife duo Kiefer and Shawna Thompson form Thompson Square.  Proof that the name doesn’t have to pair with the surname Sutherland.Reid – Along with siblings Kimberly and Neil, Reid is a member of The Band Perry.

Rory – Husband and wife duo Joey + Rory will have you guessing who’s who.  Joey is the missus.

TraceLouisiana’s Trace Adkins, born Tracy, has helped reclaim the name for boys.

Zac – First there was tweenage heartthrob Efron, now there’s much-nominated Zac Brown.  In an age of Max and Gus, why not just Zac, too?


Ashton The singer’s full name is the unexpected Ashton Delilah Shepherd.

Carrie The most successful American Idol to date.

GentryTroy Gentry is one-half of duo Montgomery Gentry.  The surname could appeal to parents who love Jennifer and Genevieve, but want something a little bit different.

MartinaMartina McBride’s long career has yet to boost her saintly given name.

Miranda – The Nashville Star alum Miranda Lambert puts a different spin on her literary appellation.

PaisleyBrad is solidly in dad name territory, but this singer’s surname is catching on for girls.

Reba – A choice from the 1920s and 30s, now almost owned by Reba McEntire.  It could make an unexpected short form for Rebecca.

SunnyTexas native Sunny Sweeney shares her name with Adam Sandler’s younger daughter.

Susie – From the duo The JaneDear Girls.

Which names have I overlooked?  And would you choose a baby name from the Billboard Country charts

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.